The Mesquite Desert Dogs hope of bringing a championship back to the valley ended Friday night in Yakima, Washington. The Dogs fell to last year’s champion, Yakima SunKings by a score of 98-90. The loss came after a heartbreaking playoff opening game loss in Mesquite 122-120 Thursday night. Thursday’s loss was a crowd pleaser from start to finish as the Dogs led most of the game. The Dogs led 25-23 after one period and 57-52 at the break. The Dogs fans welcomed back crowd favorite Jonathon Loyd, who returned to Mesquite after finishing up his season in Canada. Loyd’s play, from his point guard position made the Dawgs dangerous as they increased their lead to 94-87 after three periods. The Dogs had their biggest lead 83-66 midway through the period before letting the Sunkings back in the game. The Sunkings, behind Renaldo Major and Jackson Trapp pulled the win out winning 122-120. Mesquite’s all-star guard Tyrone Criswell led the Dogs with 30 points followed by Darius Stewart with 25 points. Loyd had 17 points before falling out and Dominic Shuler had a huge game on the boards with 19. Trapp had 33 points and Major added 28 points for Yakima. The Sharp shooting Trapp went 7 of 12 from downtown.
The second game of the series moved to Yakima on Friday evening where the Dogs fell behind early 19-7 and trailed 62-47 at the half. Loyd and Criswell’s offense display got the Dogs back to 78-70 after three periods but the Dogs could not get closer than 8 points before falling 98-90 to the Sunkings. Loyd led the Dogs with 27 points followed by Criswell with 25 points. Shuler led the boards with 15. The Dogs finished the season in third place and are looking forward to 2020. A recap of the season and a perspective from the owners and coach about the future of Desert Dog basketball in Mesquite will be forthcoming.